Thursday, August 26, 2010

Visiting Granny and Revisiting Long-Ago Flavors

Posted By on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Blackberry ice cream
  • Blackberry ice cream
When I worked at Baskin-Robbins as a teen, already alert to food and social trends, I noticed that when butter pecan or black walnut ice cream was ordered, it was always an older customer who requested it. I called them "old-people flavors."

That memory surfaced on a visit to my 92-year-old grandmother's house. She'd baked black walnut cookies, a toffee cookie like your basic chocolate chip dough base, but instead of chips, the dark, complex, rich flavor of black walnuts. When we went out for ice cream on a hot evening, she ordered wild cherry and my uncle ordered blackberry.

I wanted to ask, "Why order wild cherry when there's rocky road and Heath crunch and fudge with peanut butter ribbon?"

I know the answer already — people used to make ice cream (and cookies, and cake) with whatever was on hand, whether that was black walnuts, wild cherries or blackberries. And if that's what you grew up with, that's what tastes good to you.

A list of old people flavors — let's call them old-fashioned flavors — has been compiling itself for all these years in my head. Poppyseed, black walnut, black cherry, wild cherry, blackberry.

What other old-fashioned flavors can go on the list? And what flavors of today will be the old-people flavors of tomorrow?

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